You love motorcycling, but there are aspects to riding bikes that never fail to drive you round the bend. We’ve identified the very things you hate the most, from unscuffed kneesliders to the British weather...
Thanks to an unhealthy hormone balance and new-found levels of testosterone the hoody-wearing chav on his 50cc Speedfight will kick your arse in a race across town. He doesn’t have a clue about riding skill and every time he yanks the throttle open or throws the bars around you wince as you know how close to eating the kerb he is. At a standstill he will do everything in his power to beat you off the lights, at which point you’re so incensed (that he beat you) that you are now reduced to his pathetic, spotty level and have to do everything in your power to overtake him and save face. Maintenance is something that adults do so he doesn’t bother, but he will have some how sellotaped the loudest exhaust this side of a cross channel Hovercraft onto his stolen moped, doubling his horsepower to a mighty 9bhp...
Why do people display knee sliders like some scuffed medal of honour? Blokes who walk around the car park of a biker meet with incredibly scuffed sliders, pretending they did it all on their weekly wobble around the same car-infested roads. Who cares about getting your knee down? Er, lots of people it seems. That’s the trouble. You’ve got a £10,000 motorcycle and a £1,000 set of leathers and your sliders are untouched. To some that means you're clearly unable to ride and therefore you should sell the bike and take up golf instead. Those who brag about getting their knee down clearly aren't getting enough of something else.
If you really want to get your knee down, then this guide is for you.
The ad said “one careful owner.” It’s around the corner so you pop round after work. It’s dark when you get there but you’ve bought bikes before. Everything seems in order but you got over-excited again, didn’t you? You always tell your mates to “walk away if you’re not sure”, but you need to practice what you preach. Go out early the next day, only the panels don’t quite line up like you remembered last night and there are some funny welds. Oh well, at least it rides good. Well it does for the first 10 miles, then the engine gets up to temperature. The same temperature as the sun, that is. And it goes round lefts far better than rights. Back to the bloke’s house incensed, only to find that he didn’t live there in the first place.
Here are some tips to follow when buying a used bike.
Snow in April and sunburn in November? Oh yes. If the forecast says rain, you don’t bother making any plans and book the bike in for a service instead. The rest of the nation goes lobster in a freak heat wave and you're bikeless. If the forecast says sun you get just far away enough from your house to guarantee that you will be utterly soaked when the inevitable cyclone comes through. That’s a full seven hours’ of cleaning buggered up in two minutes. Obviously you didn’t bring any waterproofs this morning and now you can’t feel your fingers because it’s 6 degrees and dropping.
However, should you find yourself caught out in the rain here are some quick tips to get you home safely.
The whole point of having a bike is to get out there and ride the bloody thing, be individual, improve your skills and feel like you can do whatever you want, whenever you feel like it. You know this, so why are you drawn like a moth to a flame to your local bike meet? As you arrive there’ll be 20 riders with the same bike as you, except theirs are all better finished and you’ll never be able to afford the Akrapovic system he’s got. Then some random bastard starts jawing off at you about you’re riding all wrong and all you did was pull into the carpark. And you get done for doing 44mph in a 40 zone on the way home. Bike meets? You can keep 'em.
Don’t you just hate old people? You’ve been out for a ride, you park up and some old duffer hobbles over to shout at you about some old British motorbike he once owned. You don’t care what he used to ride, it haemorrhaged oil like the Exxon Valdez, had brakes made out of horsehair and handled like a drunken monkey on a trampoline. Being polite you nod and smile at his story until he gets into his 1.1 Polo which you end up getting stuck behind on your way home..
Watching a decent rider stick his bike on the back wheel and bugger off through the gearbox is still the coolest thing it’s possible to do on a bike. You can do the same. On a quiet road you dial in some revs and do the spazziest-looking fork extension ever. Once perfected, you take to the highways to show off your new skill. You must be good because people stop, point and cheer while you hammer it up the road with your engine screaming, clutch smoking and your front wheel half an inch from the tarmac. The next step is to display your talents outside your local pub. Hand your friend a camcorder and head off to warm up. Two days later the video of you flipping your Bandit in front of a crowd of cheering piss-heads has had 2,000 hits. Where did it all go so wrong?
Who nods first, you or him? And who cares anyway? If everyone nodded at everyone then we would all get along a whole lot better. You have to decide whether to nod or not nod depending on what he’s riding and how you’re feeling. He’s riding a bike clearly inferior to yours but you’re feeling kind so give him the sideways head-tilt that’s currently favoured. And he doesn’t nod back – the bastard! Two miles later and you’re still swearing inside your helmet. You will never nod to anyone again.
The days of registering a C90 on a multibike policy and then riding “your mum’s” Fireblade on it are long gone. Today some places quote two or three times as much as the others to insure your bike. But of course, you never find that out until after you’ve paid up. Suck it up and and pay out for a policy, and then you bundle your bike up the road and have to claim. And now suffer the indignity of explaining to a lady in Bengal why you couldn’t stop in time for the car that pulled out in front of you. Five months later a cheque for twelve pence wafts onto your doormat. After careful consideration you decide to downsize to a scooter, which is pinched from outside your house within a week.
But we're also here to help, here are some tips on how to save on your insurance.
Nobody claims to be one, but everyone has experienced the morale-sapping power that a biker know-it-all has. “Nah mate you want three clicks off the rear (sniff), two up the front and a full Akro system, that’s what I had on my Gixxer, made 187bhp at the backwheel and used to come up in top. ”I’m sorry, what does that mean?“ Hang on, if you listen you can actually hear the ‘ram air’ working. It’s worth at least another 10 brake at peak.” As you walk away you can hear him debriefing someone else about how he managed to out-brake them into the roundabout because he has a sweat band around his brake reservoir, which apparently warms the fluid and allows him to use maximum braking force as soon as he pulls away from his house.
Continue for the top 10 things that drive you mad about biking
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